Cedefop Head of Department for VET Systems and Institutions Loukas Zahilas presented the agency’s work on the changing nature and role of vocational education and training (VET) at the Taitaja2019 international seminar, in Joensuu, Finland, on 22 May.
A National Forum for Skills Anticipation report highlights changes in competences and skills that will be needed in 2035. Important future skills include customer-oriented development of services and knowledge of sustainable development. The labour market will require digital, information evaluation and problem-solving skills.
More than a half of learners enrolling in vocational education and training (VET) have previously acquired an upper secondary or tertiary level qualification. This reflects the role on VET in lifelong learning in Finland.
The Finnish government’s new budget proposal for 2019 includes plans to grant a learning material supplement to some upper secondary learners, including VET. Although upper secondary education is free of charge, students are required to buy their own learning materials.
A new funding system for vocational education and training (VET) at secondary level was included in a 2018 reform; it will be fully in force in 2022, after gradual implementation. Funding is divided into several core parts: performance-based and effectiveness-based, as well as strategic.
The Finnish national agency for education report highlighted that 11.4% of IVET students do not complete their initial undergraduate degree. The share of learners leaving their studies early has risen by 2.8% since the academic year 2013/14. The student's age, gender, language background and field of study were found to affect the completion of the qualification. However, about 25% of the cases of discontinuing IVET programmes are explained by transition to other studies.
Amisbarometri, the VET student survey, was published at the end of 2017. It is the most comprehensive national survey, including all Finnish vocational students enrolled in Finnish vocational institutions. It carried out for the first time in 2015 and is repeated every second year. The data from the survey are the most extensive so far as it strives to include all students studying a curriculum-based vocational programme in a Finnish VET institution.
At the end of June 2017, the Finnish Parliament approved new legislation for vocational education and training. The reform is the most extensive in education legislation in almost twenty years. The new act will enter into force on 1 January 2018.
In recent years, the number of foreign-language students in vocational education whose mother tongue is other than Finnish, Swedish or Sámi has increased considerably. Even as enrolment in general upper secondary education has grown, foreign-language students have been choosing vocational education more often.
All applicants for secondary education (ISCED 3) in Finland use a joint application system. In the spring of 2017, 54% of candidates applied to vocational education and training (VET) programmes and 46% to general programmes in upper secondary education. In recent years, VET applications have slightly decreased (56% in 2016). Approximately 39 700 applicants applied for VET, 3 360 applicants fewer than the previous year. The available number of starting places in vocational education and training is 43 900, of which 1 900 is in Swedish-language training.